All stories by Louise Penn on BroadwayStars

Sunday, November 28, 2021

‘You don’t have to be a Tudor expert to enjoy this’: SIX THE MUSICAL – West End ★★★★★ by Louise Penn

You know the story of how two Cambridge students, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss (who also directs) created this Tudor “herstory”, took it to Edinburgh, and recently opened it after COVID del…

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Monday, November 22, 2021

‘Relies on plot contrivances that don’t really ring true’: LOVE DANCE – Chiswick Playhouse by Louise Penn

When you take your seats at the Chiswick Playhouse, you note how richly detailed the set is for Love Dance. We are in a flat which is presumably a decent one-bed set-up with a shared living/…

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

‘Still an intriguing piece of work’: ‘NIGHT, MOTHER – Hampstead Theatre by Louise Penn

Marsha Norman’s 1981 play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama on its debut, and remains one of the best plays I have read on the page, long before I saw it acted. The story of Jessie C…

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

‘A clever piece of work’: DARLING – Hope Theatre by Louise Penn

Pete is lonely. His dad is sick, his mother dead, his job boring. His only love is his cello, until he connects to Angie through a lonelyhearts ad.

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

‘A searingly honest portrait of motherhood’: MUM – Soho Theatre by Louise Penn

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's new play is a raw and physical exploration of how motherhood can be tough, and how some mothers can be failed by the system set up to protect their children. Th…

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

‘A raucous & entertaining evening from five talented women’: PRIDE & PREJUDICE (sort of) – West End by Louise Penn

As five conspiratorial servants potter around the stage before the show proper, we know this is going to be no typical Jane Austen adaptation. This is Pride and Prejudice as you never knew i…

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Monday, November 8, 2021

‘A story of growth & connection at its heart’: RICE – Orange Tree Theatre by Louise Penn

Michele Lee’s Rice is a deeply ambitious play, populated by numerous characters and performed by two actors. Zainab Hassan and Sarah Lam first appear as an Indian-born executive, Ni…

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Saturday, November 6, 2021

‘The tension builds because we cannot see anything’: Some of Us Exist in the Future (Online review) by Louise Penn

One of the three Papatango New Writing prize-winning audio plays now available to listen to at a theatre near you, Nkenna Akunna’s Some of Us Exist in the Future is an ambitious piece whic…

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

‘It’s a lesson about making assumptions’: ALBATROSS – Playground Theatre by Louise Penn

Isley Lynn’s complex and clever play, albatross, is revived by the represent theatre company as the first of two productions in their inaugural season. The stage at the Playground T…

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

‘Nothing is held back or sugar-coated’: A PLACE FOR WE – Park Theatre by Louise Penn

The setting is one building in Brixton. The subject is tradition, family, community and change. A cast of four men and two women bring the play to life.

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Monday, October 18, 2021

‘Black, bleak & ultimately deeply moving’: THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE – Lyric Hammersmith by Louise Penn

Martin McDonagh’s black comedy piece, co-produced by Chichester Festival Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith, proves to be a deeper exploration of family conflict and secrets than his The Li…

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Why shouldn’t you hate musicals? Adam Lenson’s new book Breaking Into Song has the answer by Louise Penn

Director Adam Lenson has something to say about musicals. In this essential text for theatre lovers, he challenges your perceptions of what a musical can, is, and might be.

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Friday, October 8, 2021

‘A lot of potential’: GOING THE DISTANCE — Lawrence Batley Theatre (Online) by Louise Penn

Theatres were in trouble over the whole of 2020, and many are still waiting for audiences to return to their pre-pandemic levels.

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Saturday, September 11, 2021

‘The musical we perhaps all need’: COME FROM AWAY – Apple TV+ (Online review) by Louise Penn

On 11 September 2021, it will mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. To commemorate the anniversary, Apple TV+ has filmed a performance of …

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Thursday, September 9, 2021

‘Literal shivers down the spine’: FALLING IN LOVE WITH MR DELLAMORT (Online review) by Louise Penn

Any new musical must bring cause for celebration, and so I approached this one with some interest. First planned as a stage production and billed as “the world’s first theremin musical…

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

‘A completely successful piece of digital theatre’: WALDEN – Cinemas Nationwide (Online review) by Louise Penn

Twin sisterhood, space, and the uncertain near future are at play in Amy Berryman’s debut play, Walden, which recently enjoyed a run on stage as part of the Re:Emerge season at the Harold …

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Saturday, September 4, 2021

‘Stylish, visceral & very contemporary’: SALOMÉ – Southwark Playhouse (Online review) by Louise Penn

Currently running in stage in the Little at Southwark Playhouse, Lazarus Theatre’s version of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé proves to be a daring, electric, and exhausting feat of theatre.

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Friday, September 3, 2021

‘Unapologetically both theatrical drama & a tense piece of work adapted for the screen’: THE SYSTEM (Online review) by Louise Penn

Paul is dead, killed at his own party. Everyone is a suspect, and most of them had a motive. Written and performed by Emily Head, directed by Guy Unsworth, The System is filmed live in one t…

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Monday, August 30, 2021

‘Definitely picks up the spirit of the era’: WARHOL: BULLET KARMA – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) by Louise Penn

Garry Roost’s play Warhol: Bullet Karma focuses on the events around his shooting by Valerie Solanas (this ground was covered from a more feminist perspective in Femme Fatale).

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Sunday, August 29, 2021

‘Takes care to balance the comical & tragical with flair’: LOST IN LOVE – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) by Louise Penn

Lost in Love is a new play presented by Flow Stage Productions. A brash and funny lady, Emily (Rachel Pryde) has something to tell about her life and the men in it.

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Saturday, August 28, 2021

‘A strong performance in a play which will entertain film buffs’: Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) by Louise Penn

Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies (the title refers to a Davis quote of some years later about old age) references the women’s lot in the Golden Age of Hollywood – exploitative auditions, …

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Friday, August 27, 2021

‘A good balance of humour & compassion’: TILL LOVE DO US PART – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) ★★★★ by Louise Penn

Till Love Do Us Part isn’t one of the flashiest productions on the digital fringe in terms of its technical style, but the writing carries it through.

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

‘Inventive & funny’: PLANET OF THE GRAPES – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) by Louise Penn

Over on the ZOOTV platform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, you’ll find Planet of the Grapes, a delicious livestream performed live in New York City. I’m told that on Sunday the city wa…

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

‘Beautifully written show’: MARIE LLOYD STOLE MY LIFE – Camden Fringe ★★★★★ by Louise Penn

Marie Lloyd Stole My Life is a beautifully written show, full of pathos and conjuring up the mores and expectations of the time – notably, both Power and Lloyd died prematurely, which high…

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Monday, August 23, 2021

‘Accomplished & memorable’: Suffragettes – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) ★★★★★ by Louise Penn

Nuworks Theatre, from Australia, bring their lively and passionate musical (written, directed and designed by David Dunn, with choreography by Meg Dunn) about the fight for women’s suffrag…

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Sunday, August 22, 2021

‘Intrigues from the first frame’: EAST BELFAST BOY – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) ★★★★ by Louise Penn

East Belfast Boy intrigues from the first frame, and lends itself perfectly to the new format, redefining the boundaries between disparate art forms.

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

‘Shrewd, sensitive & sad’: CALL ME ELIZABETH – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) ★★★★ by Louise Penn

In Call Me Elizabeth Kayla Boye takes on the difficult task of writing about, and portraying the icon which was Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011). Just like Marilyn Monroe, you feel you already k…

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Friday, August 20, 2021

‘It’s all sharp, funny & on point’: DEAD RINGERS – London Wonderground by Louise Penn

Celebrating 21 years as a hit radio show, the Dead Ringers team – in this case, Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson and Duncan Wisbey – have taken up a late August residency in the Big Top ven…

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‘So many moments which are brilliantly put together’: THE ENTERTAINMENT – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) ★★★★ by Louise Penn

Originally planned to be performed live at Summerhall, Katie Bonna’s audio play, The Entertainment, is “about what we carry around inside us”.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

‘Emotional & fearless’: THE TARANTULA – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) ★★★★ by Louise Penn

Written and performed by Patricia Légaré Eddisford, The Tarantula is just under an hour of monologue, a story that transcends its one-room location.

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‘Rarely falters’: MEET CUTE – Camden Fringe ★★★★ by Louise Penn

Quackpot Productions has brought fresh and quirky show Meet Cute to the Camden Fringe, in which Tim and Gill’s budding romance goes anything but smoothly.

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